Women Abusing Cocaine More

Cocaine destroys lives but usually the drug is taken innocently at first. A recent study shows that women are using cocaine more in England while men are reporting less use.

– article by Khoi Nguyen

There is a worrying trend in England regarding women and abuse of cocaine.  According to the National Treatment Agency in England, a total of 1,261 women between the ages of 18 and 35 received treatment for cocaine abuse last year in the country.  This is a large increase compared to only 790 four years before and signifies a worrisome upward trend in the abuse of hard drugs by women.

The Startling Facts

  • According to a report on drug use in England by the National Association of Public Health Observatories, 1-in-15 women between the ages of 10 and 25 have admitted to taking cocaine.
  • Since 2002, there has been a five-fold increase in the number of females cautioned for possession, according to the Ministry of Justice.
  • The percentage of women taking cocaine has increased while the percentage of men taking it has decreased.
  • Over a four year period, there was an 80% increase in treatment for cocaine abuse by women between the ages of 18 and 25 (from 329 to 592 in 2008)
  • The overall number of women needing treatment for cocaine abuse last year totaled 1,645. This represents an increase of more than 50% from 2005/06, when it was only 1,064 women.

Reasons for the Rise in Cocaine Abuse

This increase in the use of cocaine could be attributed to the heightened abuse of alcohol by young women.  Alcohol and cocaine use may sometimes go hand-in-hand, as cocaine is prevalent in drinking environments and the more you drink, the greater the chances of becoming exposed to the drug.  It was reported that there was an increase (one-third) in the incidence of “alcohol-related trouble” involving women in the past two years.

Society’s Influence

The social acceptability of the drug due to the glamorous image portrayed through use by celebrities and models such as Amy Winehouse and Kate Moss could contribute to the increased use of the drug.  As cocaine becomes more acceptable, the stigma associated with it begins to vanish and more women feel that it is OK to experiment with the drug.

Because women begin using the drug in a social setting, many users think that they will use cocaine only on the occasional social basis without becoming dependent.  However, this is not always the case and many develop health issues and cocaine addiction.

Finally, the availability of cocaine has never higher and the price is now lower.

One piece of good news was that there was a decline (an 8% decrease since 2005/06) in the use of heroin and crack by women.

Dangers of Cocaine

The purity of today’s cocaine should be a concern for anyone who is at risk or cares for someone who may be at abusing cocaine.  It is often mixed with other unknown chemicals in order to increase volume.  Sometimes painkillers are cut into cocaine to give the impression that the drug could be stronger.  The use of cocaine has profound effects on the health and well being of not only the user, but their friends, family, and community.  It is a highly addictive drug and dependency is often an issue.  Because it is so fast acting and addictive, it could lead to users using it too much or too often.

Female cocaine users often report the following negative effects:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Agitation

Long-term usage could result in seizures, strokes, and heart attacks, not to mention damaging of the membranes of the nose if snorted.

Click here to read more about cocaine abuse.

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